In Our Timeline, Rome was one of, if not the, most influential nations to ever exist. It spread its influence across the Mediterranean Sea, to Egypt, Mesopotamia, Africa, Gaul, and beyond. Roman culture hugely influences culture today, everything from armies to tax systems are inspired, at least in part, by this awesome civilization. Of course this massive amount of influence simply begs the question: what if Rome had fallen apart early? What if such a powerful and influential society had been strangled in its crib? That is the idea I intend to explore in this timeline, to look into every aspect of the world today if Rome had fallen early.
Explanation of Title
The title of this timeline, Vae victis, is loosely translated Latin for Woe to the vanquished, or sometimes woe to the conquered. The phrase is supposed to remind the defeated that they are the losers, and should not expect, or ask for, any leniency in their defeat. This phrase was used — according to legend — after Brennus had taken over Rome and defeated multiple armies. He said this to Marcus Furius Camillus during negotiations, right before stabbing him through his heart, thus immortalizing the phrase and ensuring it's us in many future battles.
In 387 BCE the Senones, a Gallic tribe in northern Italy, crossed the Apennines, and eventually camped out near Clusiam, in the Etruscan province of Siana. They were lead by Brennus, and their goal was to settle new lands in order to deal with the growing numbers of their tribe. Naturally, the Etruscans felt threaten by the Gauls, and asked the Romans, who had military influence over Etrusca at the time, for help. Rome, not wanting war, decided to only send ambassadors to help, rather than fighting men. They did however, rally an army as back up, but kept it well within Roman territory.
This proved to be a mistake, as when negotiations broke down, the Clusiam sent solders to force the Senones of there land. The Roman troops were unaware of this, and as a result ere unable to help. However, the Roman ambassadors joined the Etruscans, and began to fight, thus breaking the law of nations, which prevented ambassadors from fighting. As if this wasn't bad enough, a Roman ambassador killed a high ranking Senone chieftain enraging the Senone army. When Rome refused to turn the ambassadors over for justice, the Senone abonandoed their attack in Etrusca, and instead began to march south to take revenge on Rome.
Point of Divergence
The Senone marched towards Rome far too fast for a counter offense to be mounted, and thus, with that option extinguished, the only option was a strong defense. This failed spectacularly at the battle of Allia, were 14,000 Senone troops nearly massacred almost 24,000 Roman soldiers, losing only 2,000 of their own and allowing the Roman survivors fleeing to Rome. With the Romans retreating, Brennus made the quick judgement call to chase them, instead of letting them go. Quickly, he reassembeld his army and marched after the Romans. Because of this, both sides arrived in Rome within days of each other, and fighting ensued.
Just before the Senone arrived, the senate passed a ruling making Marcus Furius Camillus the dictator of Rome. However, this measure was quickly forgotten as Senone arrived and launched a massive attack on the city. After hours of fighting, unlike in our timeline, the Senone managed to take Capitoline Hill. The control of this location allowed them to annihilate Rome, killing the senate and looting the city. Now, with the senate and Rome destroyed, the Senones were now at a crossroads: should they take there victory and leave, or attempt to take Veii, were Marcus Furius Camillus was. Whichever decision they made, it was bound to change the course of history for millennia to come...
Welcome to Væ victis!